What Does “Toning” Really Mean?

Why do you work out? What is your main fitness goal?

If you answered either of those questions with “To tone up” then you’ve got the same goal as 90% of the fitness conscious population. If we then asked all of you “What does toning up actually mean?” then things start to get a little sticky. Most of you will struggle to come up with an answer, and if you have an answer it’s probably different to the next guys. This might sound strange but that’s because the word tone is just a massive fitness-industry buzzword.

Saying you want to tone up says a lot but means very little. If you want to get toned you probably don’t want to build muscle. Are we right? Well a simple fact that seems to go against mainstream thinking, is that you have to have muscle to even looked toned. But you probably don’t want to build muscle, that’s only for bodybuilders isn’t it? Wrong. If you want to look like one of those guys and girls on the front of the fitness magazines, or the latest Calvin Klein model, you need to build muscle. If you didn’t build any muscle then the only aesthetic change that you would experience with exercise would be fat loss. This would ultimately lead to you being thin and unhealthy with no curves, bum (or biceps) and we know that’s not what you want.

So what should your goal be?

Instead of just saying you want to “tone up”, you should sit down and consider exactly what it is that you want to achieve. Do you want to be able to run further and faster, deadlift double your weight or look more athletic? Whatever your ultimate goal is, you need to work out what steps you will need to take to in order to hit it. For the vast majority of you wanting a toned look it will involve adding on muscle and then eating healthily to try and cut some fat. You will also need an exercise regime to help you get there. Consider checking out our beginner workout programme to set you on your way. Suitable for both males and females its the perfect start to your fitness journey.


Toning is not the only fitness buzzword that means nothing and causes confusion. Another example is the much discussed “functional fitness” but that’s for another article. Make sure you hit the follow button below so you don’t miss out!

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